The next race on the Formula One calendar could be a very significant one, as Lewis Hamilton could clinch the 2017 F1 world title at the Austin Grand Prix on October 22.
Sebastian Vettel's early retirement in the Japanese GP, his second in the last three races, has given Suzuka race winner Hamilton an unexpected early opportunity to wrap up his fourth world crown with three races to spare.
Vettel will need to take some inspiration from Jenson Button, who last year started the race in 19th, yet was able to complete eight overtakes by turn 12 in truly sensational style.
There are plenty of overtaking opportunities in Austin, as seen from Button's first lap display, as the circuit is compiled with many long straights, which offer a chance for drivers to gain momentum and an advantage using the slip-stream of the car ahead.
Although an outside chance, Hamilton will become world champion if he outscores Vettel by 16 points at the Circuit of the Americas.
The required scenarios are as follows: If Hamilton wins in Austin, he will become world champion if Vettel finishes sixth or lower.
If Hamilton finishes second, he will become world champion if Vettel finishes ninth or lower.
Hamilton has eight wins in 2017 to Vettel's four, so is certain to win any tie-break scenario if he is 75 points ahead after Austin with 75 still to play for.
Watch Button's ridiculous first lap from last year in the video below.
Mercedes are also likely to wrap up the constructors title too. They are 145 points clear, and Ferrari must now outscore them by 17 points to take the battle onto Mexico.
Hamilton's record in the USA is peerless: he has won the Grand Prix five times in six appearances, with victories in each of the last three seasons.
He clinched his last world title at the Circuit of the Americas in 2015 with victory over Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton is the only driver to finish in the points at every race this season, winning eight races and finishing on the podium three other times.
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